Friday, November 30, 2012

A special place in the heart of the Wood River Valley

By Toni Hardesty, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Idaho

Since I was a little girl, I always loved coming over Timmerman Hill and getting my first peek at the Wood River Valley. Seeing the valley meant it was either a weekend or we were on vacation; we were headed for some outdoor fun (skiing, camping, fishing, riding horses); and, we would most definitely see pretty places and amazing wildlife. Although much has changed in the Wood River Valley since I visited as a little girl, thanks to many visionary people and organizations, it is still a beautiful valley with practically unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities and still home to an amazing amount of wildlife.

Heart Rock Ranch. Photo by Alex Quintero/The Nature Conservancy.

In fact, at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 75 is a special piece of property that provides habitat to a host of birds, fish, and mammals.  It was but a few years ago that this property was planned for significant development. But lucky for us, and the animals that love this area, Shirley and Harry Hagey purchased the property, which they named Heart Rock Ranch. After a lot of hard work and intensive restoration, the ranch is thriving with new stream channels, cool and clean water, native plants, and excellent fish and wildlife habitat.  As if that is not enough, all of the improvements are protected into perpetuity with a conservation agreement between the Hageys and The Conservancy.

Shirley and Harry Hagey. Photo by Alex Quintero/The Nature Conservancy.

I had the pleasure of touring the ranch this past month with other Conservancy staff from the west. Believe me, it takes your breath away. For a glimpse into this amazing conservation effort, click on the following link and see for yourself what an inspirational project this is - see video.


Ken Miracle said...

Fantastic project ... Art Talsma and the whole TNC crew and contractors and the land owners got my standing ovation

Greg Loomis said...

Shirley and Harry Hagey and the Nature Conservancy of Idaho are to be commended for this project. I have lived in the Valley for over 30 years and passed by this property in horror looking at the excessive misuse of this property and now it is a complete reversal of how it was managed before. Thank you so much for caring!